After Apple announced their new Health App and HealthKit inclusions, there was a bit of a stir. The minor controversy arose due to the fact that there were inquiries about Apple stealing both the name and the product from other companies. Apple is being sued by a small New Jersey-based company, LMG 3 Marketing and Development Corp., over the copying of the HealthKit product.
LMG 3 Marketing and Development Corp. originally debuted a very similar health-focused product in 2002. It allowed individuals to access their medical records on the go thanks to a portable device that could store a patient’s medical history. So when Apple debuted their own version of the HealthKit and called it revolutionary, LMG 3 was taken aback. Apple especially added insult to injury by noting that their version of HealthKit was being adopted by many healthcare institutions.
The complaint filed by LMG 3 is that Apple copied and used their core technology in their Health App and HealthKit products. While the Apple version certainly has a wider range of functionality, the main focus is that LMG 3’s technology was stolen and passed off as another Apple innovation in the smartphone and tablet market. As noted on Bidness Etc, LMG 3 believes that the only thing Apple truly did was “wake up healthcare institutions to the idea of centralizing medical records and the crisis that was associated with this work.”
The original idea, conceived by Mr. Lubell and Mr. Moran of LMG 3, was a device that could contain all of a patient’s pertinent medical records. This would help doctors tremendously in the event of emergency medical treatment. Information stored on the device would range from allergies, to prescriptions, to diagnoses, allowing access to medical professionals in case of emergency. After tackling big obstacles like security, accessibility, and compatibility, both Mr. Lubell and Mr. Moran worked with a Mr. Guinta to create and produce software in 2002. By late 2002, they had a prototype named MyRECS. Lubell and Moran began marketing and selling the device in December of 2002.
If Apple did indeed use LMG’s patented technology, then they will owe LMG licensing fees. On top of this, Apple will also have to apologize for taking credit of overcoming boundaries that LMG successfully tackled in 2002 and 2003.
In related news, Apple was also contacted by a small Australian start-up for snagging the HealthKit name. The company (aptly named HealthKit) registered the name nearly two years ago and was disappointed to find that Apple decided to use the name for their new health-focused app. The original HealthKit company aims at connecting patients and practitioners around the world, and claims to be “one of the widest networks of practitioners and patients in the world.”
We will have to wait and see how these potential infringements play out.